13. Creating gradient backgrounds

After explaining how to overcome the challenge of creating a clean white background for your photography, Karl explains how to achieve another popular look — a graduated background light. This technique is perfect for separating the subject from the background in an aesthetically pleasing way that doesn’t cause any distractions.

This too can be a difficult look to achieve, but Karl explains each step and outlines a few important things to consider when looking to create a smooth, graduated background.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • How to achieve a graduated background light
  • Common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Illuminating different background surfaces
  • Adjusting a graduated background light
  • Diffusing light to achieve a soft, graduated look


    1. Hi Richard, if you haven’t understood that then I have to ask that you start at chapter one and watch all the way through as this is very important to how you will absorb the knowledge and what you will take away from it. I design and script these courses to teach the right information in the right order. Thanks Karl.

  1. Hi Karl, this whole lighting course has been invaluable and very well scripted. When I originally thought about subscribing I thought it would be another one of those courses that promised all and delivered very little. I can honestly say that in every video I learn a tremendous amount, and my photography is already reaching new heights. Thank you.

  2. great stuff – did wonder about why you might stand on stool on this lesson as camera so high – is that just a creative choice so can shoot down on model and see more of the background gradient?

      1. do i need flash bracket to attach a round diffuser ? sorry but i am newbie and so interesting with this course

  3. Hi Karl

    I’m working with a white solid, painted infinite curve. I do not have a grey background. I would like to use the gradient technique. Can I still achieve a grey background by moving my other 2 studio lights much further forward and achieve a similar result ?

    1. Hi Ezetna, yes you can still achieve a good gradient on a white infinite curve. See our recent live shows page on Business Portraits and see that in action.

  4. Hi Karl,
    I’m learning a lot from these awesome videos. Thank you 🙂

    I have no experience with studio flash lights and I have a question with regard to using them… had this from the previous videos also.
    Does the halogen light switch off when you take the picture, thus having the subject or the background illuminated only by the flash, or does the halogen light stay on and contribute to the total lighting when the pic is taken?

      1. Hi Karl,

        That’s what I thought but wanted to be sure. It also explains why you switched off the halogen lamp for the flash experiment with the fan.
        I’ve watched number 2, but I will definitely watch it again. Yes, will cover all 15 before moving to the actual shoots.

        Thank you, Karl! Loving these videos 🙂


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